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Cloud Research Consortium Receives $10 Million Grant

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $10 million grant to a national consortium for cloud computing research and development.

According to NSF, the grant will support the design, deployment and initial operation of Chameleon, which is a large-scale, reconfigurable experimental environment for cloud research. The Chameleon testbed will be co-located at the University of Chicago and the University of Texas at Austin. Other consortium members include Ohio State University with expertise in high performance interconnects, Northwestern University with expertise in networking and the University of Texas at San Antonio with expertise in outreach.

Chameleon will consist of 28,000 processor cores in 650 multi-core cloud nodes with five petabytes of storage. Unlike many other testbeds, Chameleon will be able to support heterogeneous computer architectures, "including low-power processors, general processing units (GPUs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), as well as a variety of network interconnects and storage devices," according to information from the NSF. This flexibility will enable researchers to test a variety of hardware, software and networking components.

According to the NSF and Northwestern University, industry has been the driving force behind much of the recent design of cloud-computing architecture, and the lack of a large-scale experimental research platform has been a barrier to advancement of cloud services and technologies. However, Chameleon will complement the industry's efforts while enabling academic researchers "to experiment and advance cloud computing architectures that can support a new generation of innovative applications, including real-time and safety-critical applications like those used in medical devices, power grids and transportation systems," according to information from the NSF.

Further information about the Chameleon cloud research environment can be found on the Chameleon site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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